Saturday, June 21, 2014

Solstice Weekend Reads

Here are some stories for you to peruse on the longest day of the year:

The Land of 10,000 Takes: Minnesota's long, tortured and very, very complicated relationship with 'Fargo' - Grantland

Absurdities, Blatant Lies, Chutzpah, Political Expediency, Odd Couples - Mish.  I often disagree with Mish, but he's spot-on here about Iraq and Syria.

The Stories of our Grandchildren - The Archdruid Report.  Money quote, "Equally, it’s much easier, and much more comfortable, to insist that the ongoing decline in standards of living here in America is either the fault of the poor or the fault of the rich. Either evasion makes it possible to ignore all the evidence that suggests that what most Americans think of as a normal standard of living is actually an absurd degree of extravagance, made possibly only briefly by the reckless squandering of the most lavish energy resource our species will ever know."

I Was Tony Gwynn's Bat Boy - Deadspin (h/t to my sister). In case you missed it earlier this week.  Very good.

Methane Inquiry Closes, but Questions Linger - Texas Tribune.  The industry may be able to claim that they haven't polluted many wells with fracking fluids, but methane is another story.  How dangerous it is in water wells, I'm not sure.  Can't be good for indoor air quality, though.

Slavery's Legacy: Race-Based Economic Inequality - Pacific Standard.  Or why Mississippi is so backward and poor.

Casino Boom Pinches Northeast States - Wall Street Journal.  Indiana is hit, too.  It took Ohio way to long to legalize casino gambling, but I think the expansion in the state has gone pretty reasonably, with just one casino in each of the four biggest cities, and the race tracks from Toledo and Columbus moving to Dayton and Youngstown to take advantage of casino-free markets in which to place racinos. Canton-Akron is the only large orphan area, but they aren't very far from Cleveland or Youngstown, and Thistledown is considering a move to that market.  Gambling is no longer a growth sector, and glitzy casinos outside of Vegas are probably a thing of the past.

Answering J.D. Salinger's Fan Mail Made Her A Writer - Vox.  An interesting tidbit about one of the types of fan mail: "The last category, there were the letters that were tragic. They ran the gamut, but lot of them were older people who were reliving or thinking about their experiences during World War II. Because of this, they had read Salinger when his works first came out, and because of that they felt that he had captured their experience during the war or after the war, and they were rereading it and realized, oh my god, this is about the war."

How the Mormons Conquered America: The success of the Mormon religion is a study in social adaptation - Nautilus

Arizona Could Be Out of Water in 6 Years - Smithsonian

The House of Mondavi: How an American Wine Empire Was Born - Longreads

How Foster Farms Used the USDA, Big Chicken Lobbyists and Lawyers to Avoid a Recall - Firedoglake.  Interesting, if a bit dramatic.


  1. Minnesota and the movie "Fargo.?" Personally, I found the movie disgusting, ridiculous, and highly insulting but apparently, I am middle of the road on this. Not long after it came out, I was with a friend in a medium-priced eatery near the freeway. A cute little waitress came over to get us going, give us menus, etc. As she was leaving, I said in a low voice to me friend, "maybe Fargo isn't so goofy. She could have made the cast without an accent coach."

    Well, she heard me. Long story short, we next met with the manager who determined such an insult warranted our removal from his establishment. We left and as we exited, we could see the poor girl was crying. We apologized profusely and left a tip.

    Screw the Coen brothers. Their movies are shit and they hurt people. I know people in this state who takes movies so seriously, they consider Ingmar Bergman "frivolous and superficial." Notice, there are no well-read intellectuals in the Coen brother's version of Minnesota. That's because those two wouldn't recognize one if they spent all day together.

  2. I'm not sure why that girl would be upset by the accent comment. I love that accent. I also associate it with niceness, as opposed to a New York accent (rude asshole) or a southern accent (dumb).

    As for the Coen brothers, I was ok with Fargo, but loved Oh Brother Where Art Thou and The Big Lebowski. Their films feature an absurdism which I appreciate.

  3. I'm not the only one who loves the accent. See #28: